Assignment 1: 2 Objects



Choose two objects that you use every day (you cannot pick mobile phones or laptop/computer) and analyze their design using the principles described in Chapter 1 of The Design of Everyday Things. Imagine describing what the object is and what it’s designed to do to someone who has never seen it before. Is it intuitive or frustrating? Come up with three ways to alternate the design for that object and see how it changes its function. Make drawings and notes in your journal.

Assignment 1: Reading Response


Response to reading from CH 1 Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things  (1988)

The first time I read the text, I frowned. Firstly, I did not use the older type of telephone that much when I was young. I held my mother’s mobile phone already when I was in elementary school. Hence, I had a hard time imagining the example of complicated telephones. Secondly, I am not a good technical drawing reader. Again, I had difficulty deciphering the refrigerator’s conceptual model.
These experiences actually help me to understand the frustration of being faced with undecipherable instructions or non user-friendly products. A good design should have good visibility of certain feature. The person using the product should know how to interact with the feature naturally without having to read the manual book. In addition, the product should also give back a clear feedback whether the product has been used correctly or not.
My questions about this readings are:
1. Can the answer to homework assignment on page 31-33 be a smartphone? Would my answer be counted as a lazy answer?
2. There is a statement on page 29 that says “it takes five to six tries to get an idea right, … and if a newly introduced product doesn’t catch on in the first two or three times, it is dead.”
Would the recent emergence of online crowdfunding platform be a remedy to the problem? The crowdfunding platform usually provides the visual of the product and the use in context. The project will only kick off if enough number of people support the project and enough funds are raised. This crowdfunding platform is good to see how people react to the product, and prevent the loss of money producing non user-friendly products.

Assignment 1: Maps



Find two maps of a building or place you have visited – one map is badly designed and the other is well designed. Be prepared to explain your examples and bring maps to class.

Think of a time you were lost in a place and write in your journal how and why you got lost. What about the user experience didn’t work for you?

Bad Map Design

  • No presence of map grid: bad conceptual model
  • The places’ icons are not put according to their true location; hence, the map looks cluttered
  • The map does not reflect all four routes in one big picture
  • The route lines below is quite confusing for me as they only have one arrow as direction indicator each
  • I remembered read the Campus Weekend Rider’s direction wrongly that I went out of NTU while I wanted to go somewhere inside NTU complex

Good Map Design

File_000 File_001

  • The presence of map grid: good conceptual model
  • The places’ icons are put according to their true location
  • Although there are many bus routes, it is not confusing due to different color codes and bus numbers’ repetition along the lines